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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Batesville, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    Worked one hive today no problems, had smoker but didn't need it.

    Second hive that had been testy before attacked me. Had 200 stingers in my jeans and all over the gloves. Thank you Magnet Man for that Ultrabreeze smock!! (hope all the bees in Heaven are gentle)

    this hive is now dead.

    If this keeps up it may be time to give up after over 20 years.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,658

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    I am always sad to hear someone thinking of throwing in the towel, especially after twenty years of beekeeping. I think a mean hive is worth being dead, or requeened, to make a calmer more pleasant hive to work with. Have you considered perhaps splitting off a small nuc from your good hive to re-populate the dead hive with?
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Lennox Head, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    25

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    Had exactly the same experience last week (including being thankful for the ultra breeze). The hive now has a new queen but it does rattle your confidence. Although, as this hive had previously been ok to work, I wonder how much this was the result of drones contribution to the gene pool. But I did not think I could wait for a new spermatacea to kick in.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Batesville, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    Yes, I split the calm hive prior to the shocking experience. No stings from them Frames will have to be discarded as sprayed them with pesticide. My dog and wife are getting real skittish.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,079

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    Always unfortunate to hear about someone destroying a hive in a needlessly destructive and unimaginative manner. No disrespect, but why would you spray a hive with pesticide?

    If a hive really does need to be killed and you'd like to use the equipment again, suffocate them. Tens of thousands of insects need a large amount of oxygen. Try a big trash bag.

    Now if I can just get through to the gasoline users....
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Batesville, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    Why?

    Because they were chasing me by the hundreds back to the house and I couldn't get close enough to put the cover back on without getting more than the several hundred stingers that were already in my clothing.

    Believe me, i will use any means to keep our suburban area free of this kind of bees even if it means destroying all my colonies.

    Yes, I know how to destroy bees without contaminating the equipment.
    Last edited by jbford; 03-22-2012 at 04:38 PM. Reason: edited

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Spicewood, TX, USA
    Posts
    375

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    I sympathize with you. I have a devil hive I am dealing with now. The only lucky thing is, they are no threat to others and I own a Ultrbreeze full suit. I can hang in there with them as long as the nerves will allow. If I only had a half or a lesser suit, I don't think I could stck with them for long. Sorry about the loss of equipment. If I can't tame mine by re-queening, i will at least be able to hang in there to salvage the frames and comb to offer to the newer nicer bees that i will replace them with.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,492

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    A CO2 fire extinguisher works wonders here. Best if the hive is not open, but a slow discharge over the nest will quiet them down long enough to cover it again.

    Sorry you had to wipe one out, but I would do the same thing, way too many kids and pets around here to have a nasty hive.

    Peter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Fairview, TN
    Posts
    49

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    Does a hive just one day become that way or did they get progressively worse over time. This is my second spring and I have been wondering about that. I also live in a neighborhood with my hive about 30-40 yards from my house and from my nearest neighbor. They have been fine so far. I got my hives last May and I didn't get stung until the fall and only got stung once or twice each inspection. The first time I inspected this year we got stung seven times. My took most of them because he was handling most of the frames. They are much stronger now then last fall. I didn't know if the stronger they got, the more stings you could expect or what. Just curious as to how a hive becomes this mean and if you have an idea they are getting this way before you open them up. Thanks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Batesville, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    Last year we started having one or two buzz us if we walked near the hive stand. They would follow us to the house. (300 ft)
    It became impossible to mow near the hive without wearing a veil

    I got one hive calmed down but hived a swarm last year that turned out to be the meanest yet; with so many bees flying at me and running all over the combs that finding the queen was near impossible. The Michael Bush technique of making several splits would have worked. Smoke had little calming effect.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,120

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrequeeninghot.htm

    I won't say I haven't contemplated killing them, but never have. I've always requeened. If I did I'd go for soap suds or suffocation. No need to ruin the equipment...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Wood county, WV, USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    I had an event last year that put me in the hospital with over a thousand stings, I am still a little jumpy around a large amount of bees. So I can understand killing a hive that is mean. No more hot hives for this boy. Hot hives equal soap and water, five gallons poured over them will kill them dead.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    Are Africanized bees the cause behind your hot hives ?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,120

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    >I had an event last year that put me in the hospital with over a thousand stings

    Wow! You need an ultra breeze jacket. I am seldom in a position where I could possibly get that. I have probably had a thousand stingers in my clothes though...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Bradley, TN, USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    I am looking for advice

    I have a hive that has always been aggressive and I put off checking it this spring. I checked all my others with just a homemade veil but finally got brave and got into this one. I wore a jacket and gloves (never had a suit). They were really bad by the time I got to the lowest box. My arms were brown with bees trying, and some succeeding to sting. They were so thick in the air I could hardly see. Dropped several frames but they were already max mad. Squished a lot of bees putting it all back because I couldn't just leave it open but was starting to get a lot of stings and needed to get inside.

    I decided to requeen them. But...I only saw 1 hive beetle. These bees are from stock that has never been treated with anything at all. I am in SE TN so I doubt they are africanized in any way but they have attacked my dog and someone working on our house once. I doubt I could find the queen. The only time I have ever found her in this hive she was actively hiding, she would run into the communication hole and go back and forth as I turned the frame over trying to look at her.

    I am thinking of splitting the hive. Then checking back in a week or so and looking for emergency queen cells. Leaving half with what they have (queen or queen cell if I squished the queen) and requeening the other half. I don't want to propagate bees so hard to work but hate to get rid of bees that have done so well with no treatments of any kind.

    I received enough stings to make me feel ill. My husband doesn't want me taking risks. Suggestions?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,120

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    First wear enough protection that they can't sting you. An ultra breeze jacket with a zip on veil or an ultra breeze or golden bee products suit with a zip on veil is fairly sting proof. Wear gloves and tape anywhere you think they could possibly get in. Then split it "to the four winds". Put each box on it's own bottom with a lid and an empty box with drawn comb at the old location.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesrequeeninghot.htm

    Requeen.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Wood county, WV, USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    No, hot queens have been aroound for the last 40 years that I have been a beekeeper.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    Quote Originally Posted by thenaturelady View Post
    I checked all my others with just a homemade veil but finally got brave and got into this one. I wore a jacket and gloves (never had a suit). <snip> Squished a lot of bees putting it all back because I couldn't just leave it open but was starting to get a lot of stings and needed to get inside. <snip> I received enough stings to make me feel ill. My husband doesn't want me taking risks. Suggestions?
    Hmmm... if my wife had that experience, I don't think I'd have to tell her I didn't want her taking risks....I think I'd have to wrestle the soapy-water sprayer away from her if I wanted to save the hive by re-queening! lol

    Anywise, whenever I work bees that I don't KNOW are very gentle (I'm sensitive to bee venom, and 1-2weeks laid up, waiting for the swelling to go down is NOT a fun experience), I wear bluejeans UNDER sweat pants w/elastic at the ankles; I tuck the sweat pants into my boots too; then I wear a sweatshirt + jacket, both tucked into the waitsband of the sweat pants; on top, I have my homemade screen veil that I tuck into the neck of the jacket; finally, I put on a pair of welding gloves & then wrap duct tape around my waist (holding the jacket and sweat pants together) and around my forearms (holding the glove "cuffs" to the jacket. I've worked on removing hives for hours dressed like this, gotten thousands of stingers all over my jerry-rigged suit, but 0 stingers in me! (the weakest point in this suit seemed to be the gloves, once or twice I've gotten "prickled" in my fingers and started itching a little there after mashing a few stingers in further while grabbing tools, or boxes, or what-not)

    I know it may not make you all that much to look at, but it's worked to keep me from getting laid-up on the couch, and now I can work virtually *any* bees with confidence in my suit, so I can keep my nerves calmer while I work (which makes things tend to go smoother/faster, and usually results in my keeping the bees a bit calmer too). :-)

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Calhoun Co, Texas, USA
    Posts
    1,310

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    Quote Originally Posted by mushmushi View Post
    Are Africanized bees the cause behind your hot hives ?
    I think in a LOT of cases (at least south of the Kansas/Oklahoma border) they are. Many times an africanized queen can "take over" a hive of gentler bees by simply coming in with a few "escorts," killing the existing queen, then starting to lay in her place. If you don't mark your queens, it's hard to notice when this happens....until the new, africanized, brood comes out, matures, and then starts gradually taking over "guard duties" within the hive! If an otherwise fairly gentle hive starts getting a "little aggressive," then gets to "downright MEAN" over the course of, say, a couple weeks, I'd be VERY suspicious about inadvertently housing an Africanized userper in one of my hives (but, then again, I'm in S. Texas, in HEAVY Africanized country...so I may be a little biased...lol)!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Limestone Co, Alabama
    Posts
    1,674

    Default Re: Mean, MEAN, MEAN!!

    "Are Africanized bees the cause behind your hot hives ? "

    I don't know. But I do remember my first beekeeping lesson, it was taught while sitting at my grand mother's feet. This was during the aftermath of WWII. I was told that Italian bees were gentle, and that German bees were not. Being a child I connected this to the élan or fighting spirit displayed by the Italian Army verses that displayed by the German Army. Somewhere on an old PC I have a file of newspaper stories spanning 140 years concerning mass fatal bee attacks. The oldest attacks were almost certainly German bees. They enjoyed then and still enjoy today a well deserved reputation for strong and concerted defensive behavior. At any rate, the USDA first introduced AHB into the United States (Michigan, Minnesota, or Wisconsin I think it was) sometime in the late 1940s. If you wish to learn more, go to Michael Bush's excellent web sight. I think he has more in-depth information on this subject than just this one link.
    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesraces.htm
    Just to prove to the world that you don't need to dress up like a white knight in a suit of bee armor to gather honey from African bees I am including this video, I have posted it before but I still find it totally amazing, I hope you find it amazing as well. Enjoy.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p06p65vU4-4
    Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.

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